The Audi A4 and Audi A5 Sportback have earned the distinction of being IIHS Top Safety Picks for the 2020 and 2021 model years. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it “Good” ratings for every crash test it performs. It also tested the vehicles’ front crash prevention systems, and the Audis earned the highest-possible “Superior” rating for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian scenarios.
The only element keeping the pair of Audis away from being Top Safety Pick+ picks are their headlight scores. While the Prestige trim’s headlights received a “Good” score, the Premium Plus was only rated “Acceptable,” and the Premium trims were rated “Marginal.” This means that only the Premium Plus and Prestige earn the Top Safety Pick honor, whereas the Premium trim gets no award. The IIHS says the issue with the Premium trim headlights was an inadequate amount of illumination on curves.
Headlight ratings have been the cause of more than a few vehicles missing out on the TSP or TSP+ rating as of late. However, a number of manufacturers have changed their headlight lineup or lighting technology to perform better recently, leading to the IIHS handing them the awards for doing so. If Audi wants the TSP+ award and not just the TSP, it would need to bring the headlights from the Premium Plus model down to the Premium trim as standard equipment. Any vehicle that has a trim level with a Marginal headlight rating is automatically disqualified from TSP+ consideration, no matter the crash test scores. Audi did exactly what we described above with the A7 from the 2020 to 2021 model year, so it could very well do the same for the A4 and A5 Sportback.